Squeezing the most out of the season is one of my superpowers. I dread the moment when I have my last Peach, tomato and mozzarella salad, a bowl of gazpacho or cucumber soup. These are all winning recipes for when the heat shows no sign of backing down.
Cold Summer Salad
Ever since a friend shared this cold salad with me a few weeks ago, I have been obsessed. Researching ratios of how to make the perfect sauce for a cold noodle salad. The true beauty of this dish dances on the tightrope hitting all the notes–spicy, sweet, savory and succulent.
The simple combo of tamari (or soy sauce for those who aren’t gluten-free), rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil blend with honey, ginger, garlic and a glug of sriracha or sambal to pour over cold noodle salad filled with all your favorite vegetables and you will be obsessing as well.
Entree, Snack or Side Dish
Whether you seek a cold dish for dinner, something to snack on during the day or a side that will be the star of the potluck spread, this is the one. Pasta, soba noodles or ramen can be used–whatever you have or whatever you prefer. Cooked until tender, the noodles toss with gobs of raw vegetables and soak up the spicy sauce so every nook and cranny and noodle is coated.
If you need to clean out your vegetable drawer, this is the dish. Or you can be as creative as you want for the add-ins. I use shredded carrots, broccoli slaw, green onions, thinly sliced red cabbage, red bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes and chopped cilantro. But consider edamame, sugar snap peas and protein as well. Shredded chicken or shrimp are nice options. For garnishes, chopped peanuts, more cilantro and black sesame seeds will dress this meal up like nobody’s business.
Crispy, crunchy, sweet, spicy, earthy, garlicky, gingery, peanutty–this cold and light salad eats like a meal. Even a small serving will satisfy because of the complexity in flavors, colors and textures. It’s a winner and with the basics being the noodles and sauce, the rest is up to you. Go veg heavy or light with just cucumbers, avocado chunks, green onions and black sesame seeds. But whatever you do, don’t miss this opportunity to make a sensational summer dish that will feed you for a few days. Enough time for everyone to obsess over this easy-to-make cold noodle salad.
Cold Noodle Salad
This salad has the potential to become your favorite, quick summer entree--the more vegetables you add, the heartier it is. Add protein and boom! Using noodles as a base, add whatever raw veggies you have or want to include and dress it all with a spicy peanut sauce for a heavenly meal, snack or side dish that will wow the crowd.
- 8 oz soba noodles, udon noodles, ramen or pasta of choice
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 2 shredded carrots
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced on the bias
- 1/2 thinly sliced red pepper
- 1/2 diced cucumber
- 2 julienned radishes
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds garnish, optional
- 1/3 cup chopped peanuts garnish
For the sauce
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons chile oil, sambal or sriracha
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the soba, stir to prevent sticking and cook according to package instructions until tender. You don't want these al dente. Rinse under cold water until the noodles are completely cold.
When ready to add the noodles to the vegetables, loosen the soba noodles by running under cold water, and let drain again. Add the noodles to the vegetables, add the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil and toss to combine.
In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, tamari/soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, honey, chili oil/sriracha/sambal, ginger and garlic. Whisk until the sauce is a pourable consistency. Taste and add more of any of the ingredients, as desired; set aside. The sauce will thicken as it sits, so be prepared to add 1-2 tablespoons of water, to thin out the sauce, if needed.
In a big bowl, place the chopped vegetables for the salad and the noodles.
Pour half of the sauce over the ingredients and toss to coat thoroughly. Add the toasted sesame oil and more sauce if desired and continue to toss until combined. Refrigerate the noodles for at least 20 minutes and then toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. I added a bit of salt at this point.
Serve, garnish with chopped cilantro, black sesame seeds, peanuts and enjoy, Refrigerate any leftovers and nosh as needed within the next few days.